By on July 24, 2007

galdiator.jpgThe love of all things Jeep ranks high in the automotive pantheon of passion. Porschephiles, ‘Vettistas, Hemiheads, Scuderia– they ain’t got nothin’ on Jeepaholia (Hi, my name is Brad and I love Jeeps.) Jeep devotees are a hardy breed, born to be wild. Other than domestic and commuter runs, they ALWAYS take the road untraveled; sneering at mud, chuckling at chuckholes, belly laughing at boulders. Hummers, Land Cruisers, 4Runners and other four wheel-drive pretenders to the throne are equally capable in certain situations, but they lack Jeep’s visceral appeal. So what is it about the brand that keeps the faithful faithful?

It’s in the genes. When Willys and Ford produced the first Jeeps for the military in WWII, the go-anywhere, do-anything vehicles earned millions of soldiers’ unlimited respect. Some 600k Jeeps proved their worth in the harshest possible environments, from Malaysia’s steamiest jungles to Norway's frozen wastes.  When American G.I.s returned stateside, more than a few had developed a taste for those tough little trucks with the Go-Devil engines. An iconic brand was born.

Jeep purists will tell you that the only “real” Jeep is a CJ. Don’t believe them. Today’s Wrangler is every bit as trail-capable as the CJs of yore, and it sits at the brand’s heart. By the same token, pay no heed to those who suggest that anything other a Wrangler is not a “real” Jeep. While Jeep DNA says outdoors like an Armani suit says espresso bar, Jeeps have not always been trail-ready. In its storied past, Jeep has made pickups, sedans, proto-SUVs and station wagons. Ever since hostilities ceased, the company has stretched the brand’s original remit like Turkish taffy.  

In that not-so-great tradition, Jeep’s current brain trust have recently moved the brand away from its mud-spattered proletarian roots. Given that the public thinks Jeep = Off Road, it’s amazing that Jeep’s Detroit masters have felt so free to swim against a powerful, profitable and powerfully profitable current. 

In 1992, the suits torpedoed the Jeep Comanche, a utilitarian little pickup truck that kept the brand in touch with its working class pedigree. Meanwhile, they gave the bloated Commander the green light. While the Commander was probably a focus group knockout (what do you guys think about a Jeep with a third row?), the realization of this marketing “dream” was too slow and thirsty for urban work, too uncomfortable to comply with the Geneva Convention, and too ugly for Medusa.

Jeep’s handlers also killed the original Cherokee and replaced it with the Liberty, answering a question no one asked. Saying that, the U.S. market responded positively; the Jeep Liberty hit the “cute ute” sweet spot, luring many women into the Jeep fold. (The four-door Wrangler is an attempt to woo back disenfranchised Cherokee fanboys back into the fold.) 

Jeep Inc. then launched the twin brand-engineered demon spawn of the Dodge Caliber. The Patriot and the Compass were a hit and miss affair (literally). While the Patriot reeks of Jeepness, the Compass does not. The Powers That Be also passed on the Rescue concept (a Wrangler-on-steroids over a RAM 2500 frame/drivetrain) and the Gladiator (the long-anticipated Comanche replacement).

The Wrangler-based Gladiator was a slam dunk. The pickup would have reconnected Jeep with its working class base and given Chrysler/Jeep dealers a nice little truck to sell. Even better, the Gladiator would have seven-slotted into the underserved small pickup niche, where the outdated Ford Ranger reigns supreme.

As a brand, even Jeep’s wins cause angst. The four-door Wrangler is a huge hit– which the company can’t produce quickly enough to meet demand. Things are so backed-up in Mopar-land that Jeep has stopped taking orders for ’07 Wranglers, and won’t begin accepting deposits for ’08s until summer’s end. Jeep seriously misjudged demand for both the four-door models and both flavors of the Rubicon. Oops.

Surveying the brand’s recent track record, it’s clear Jeep still represents a “back to basics” meme which resonates deeply and uniquely with a large segment of the car buying populace. Fans of the brand understand– and expect– a Jeep to be a simple, uncluttered and dependable machine with a can-do spirit. Granted, the bar on “simple and uncluttered” has been raised a bit since Willys’ glory days, and dependable no longer means you can fix it yourself on the fly, but the Jeep brand still stands for something authentically American.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Wranglers are to SUVs what minimalism is to art, and what Stickley is to furniture. To remain an iconic brand, Jeep must keep their eye on the ball, and that ball is clearly marked “Trail-Rated.” Jeep’s new owners should rid themselves of the Bloatmobile (Commander) and the Tonka-Toy (Compass) and build the brand around respectfully extending the real icon – the Jeep Wrangler. Now that, anyone can understand.

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45 Comments on “For the Love of Jeep...”


  • avatar
    kazoomaloo

    I love jeeps, I think they’re great and super capable, I have a Cherokee myself, but I’ve never understood why a Wrangler can run $28,000 + when they’ve been using essentially the same body for the last 25 years and the doors are held on by straps. I know, I know, they’re little feats of supertough engineering, but I always feel like they’re trying to rip me off by charging ridiculous prices for a car that is super cheap to build. Jeep is a moneymaker, though, and they’ll price it where the market determines, but I couldn’t personally justify putting my money down for a new Jeep Wrangler.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    jeep is an acronym for ruggedness being associated with a dominant alfa male. jeep is a symbol of basic instincts, a vast prairie lands, a half domesticated breed of a primitive stubborn stallion who can reach the Great Cannion any time barefooted. not shaving,ever.Jeep is a brand whose power is in a legend, and what a coincidence that it coincides with not needing to invest in technologies.( like Harley) The brute males have strong genes, they don`t need education….. they attract clients with their legend, as long as an educated nerd in glasses doesn`t find out about Achilles live axle, leaf springs, mesosoic ohv, pre-ordovic dashboards etc. Jeep, watch out, toyota has arrived, looking rugged, yet with harward diploma fj cruiser. Jeep has most of models based on foreign platforms( if being domestic doesn`t matter, how come toyota doesn`t have a single model in its history that would be based on a foreign platform?)- patriot, compass, cherokee- mitsubishi lancer based. grand cherokee, commander- mercedes m klass based. The only pure american, of course is triassic wrangler, with one of the most obsolete underpinnings in the world. can you name other foreign vehicle with leaf springs on rear? jeep has no objective reason to exist, but it does. So let`s call it a phenomenon. It is a brand for people who don`t care about cars, but care superficially about image it spreads to other people. What is jeep`s strength? design- very amateur, individual yet unfinished, and primitive( round lamps, flat 2 dimensional panels etc don`t give an image of casting, moulding, or metalcrafting), reliability- even taking into account it`s primitiveness, still subpar. fit and finish- not even worth discussing, material texture- don`t mention that. advanced technologies- why asking such stupid questions, anyway. offroading capabilities? – well, that`s a good point. jeep. there is only one. and the last prehistoric animal alive…like a coealacanth.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    As an owner of a 2004 Jeep GC, I’ll tell you – I’m hooked.

    Originally we bought it with the intention of schlepping around the baby and all the associated stuff that comes with a child.

    But then, one day, I took it off road – down a rocky path to a small lake. I couldn’t believe that this comfortable, utility vehicle was so fun to drive off road. Sure, a Lexus is more luxurious, but the Jeep gives you a sense of confidence that lacks in the Lexus.

    The “fun” factor coupled with great off-road/snow ability is the reason why I plan to have one in my driveway for the foreseeable future.

    Oh yeah, it’s been really reliable and dirt cheap to fix the minor stuff. That’s also a quality lacking in MANY new vehicles.

  • avatar
    SuperAROD

    The pickup may not be dead yet. The SEMA Wrangler JT has a ton of buzz surrounding it. Because it is Wrangler Unlimited with a cab and a bed there should little in terms of developement costs. Hopefully the new management team will green light it.

    As far as Commander, from what I understand, it is going away in 2009.

    As far as Compass, because of the flexible manufacturing for that platform, it will probably remain in production as long as Caliber/Patriot is. If they decide to extend it into the long term, I hope the next refresh stays truer to the Concept Compass.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    That reminds me, I saw a lovely cherokee hack job on the interstate yesterday. Someone had given it a wrangler conversion… i.e. hacked off 80% of the roof. It was interesting, to say the least.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Just a few civil responses to the statements above; The Wrangler’s doors are not held on by straps, they have very beefy (exposed) hinges, and they’ve had coil springs under them at all four corners since the 97 model was released.

    I drive an 06 Ruby and love the little devil to death. I had a chance to try out a Commander a few weeks ago when my company Tahoe died and we needed another 4×4 right away. A quick visit to the local Hertz got me a new Commander that was about to be baptized by fire as a field truck at an open-pit Wyoming coal mine for a week. The undercarriage and running gear performed superbly, but the rest of the vehicle is simply not built for the working man. Now, should it have been an old Cherokee, we would have been in business. I keep trying to convince the company to replace the old Tahoe with a new 4-door Wrangler, but that’s a pipe dream…

  • avatar
    shaker

    MLS; Jurisb makes valid points in er, “intriguing” fashion. The “Primitive” nature of the Wrangler is the basis of their appeal; even if the only way most drivers can exercise their capbilities are by driving over curbs to park in the grass when the lot is full.

  • avatar
    crc

    Wow jurisb. Envious are we that the beloved and holy Toyota makes an FJ that is technologically superior to a Wrangler, but can’t generate the same kind of following.

    People who don’t own a Jeep will never understand.

  • avatar

    I dearly love my trusty, rusty, 1972 Jeep Commando. but it’s getting to where I’m not really comfortable taking it on a trip for more than an hour or two in any direction. (not to mention, the difficulty in convincing friends to ride along) I had high hopes for the Gladiator. I would have solved all this, and given me a good little pickup for camping, canoeing, or moving the occasional couch. It’s time for a Jeep pickup again. Make it a small one, and you don’t really have to worry about stealing sales from the Dakota. I’d imagine that’s why the Comanchee was dropped to begin with.

    Jeep’s simplicity, and rugged image are the key. It’s what we expect. How much of an issue are panel gaps with the doors off, and the windshield flipped down? (No, that loop on the hood is not intended to tie down items on the roof) If I back into a tree, it’s nice to know I can pick up a tail light most anywhere that sells parts for boat trailers. This is the Jeep that won wars, and hearts. Everything must evolve, but Jeep’s brand is all about it’s history, and that when it comes down to it, history is our guide to the future.

  • avatar
    AKM

    Thanks for the nice op-ed. I have a healthy dose of respect for jeep. Not that I want to rain on the parade, but 2 things need to be pointed out:
    – not all Jeep owners “deserve” their jeeps. If you don’t take it off-roading, it ain’t a jeep.
    – perhaps even more importantly, no matter how much off-roading you do, you’re not a real man until you use your God-given method of travelling: your legs!

  • avatar
    N85523

    AKM, I love your two points. The I love driving my Jeep how it was designed to be driven, but It’s also a great rig to get to a trailhead.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Brad, I could not have said it better. This week I finished re-watching HBO’s 10-part WWII miniseries, Band of Brothers. The Jeep was certainly the GI’s warhorse of the war and is still a high water mark of American automobile manufacturing.

    Damn the square headlights, I love to see a Jeep whose front-end still looks like the original.

  • avatar

    Those square headlights went away on the Wrangler as soon as the folks at Chrysler realized that the hard-core were wearing t-shirts saying, “Real Jeeps have round headlights”.

    I don’t think you’ll ever see anything but round headlights on a Wrangler again.

    As to that comment about ‘proper ownership’ standards, I guess that means you can’t own a Harley if you don’t get into bar fights and spend serious time in jail – or – you can’t own a Ferrari if you don’t spend time racing. Get over it.

  • avatar

    Nice piece; well done. It’s always good to find someone simpatico, and you can find what that guy wrote right HERE.

    I have owned a few Jeeps myself, but no CJ or Wrangler among them. I owned two of the pickup trucks – I agree that Jeep is missing a market here by not offering something in this segment now. Also owned a Grand Wagoneer, which I loved.

    B Moore – Autosavant.net

  • avatar

    Oh yeah, as to at least part of the reason the Jeep brand stays so strong: Think back to the earlier days of serious civilian off-road vehicles (say, the early 60’s). At that time you had three excellent choices: The Jeep CJ, the Land Rover, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. Serious, bare bones, do-anything-off-road vehicles.

    Between the three of them, now what are your current choices? The CJ still lives in the Wrangler, and does it quite well. The Land Rover equally lives in the Defender, but not over here – all you get is the yuppified Range Rovers. And Toyota? The most pathetic of the bunch. The Land Cruiser turned into a soccer-mom-to-the-mall land yacht ages ago, and the FJ Cruiser is just a pathetic reminder of what used to be. Yeah, it’s got the rugged styling, but the company didn’t have the guts to pare it back to bare bones like the original.

    Only Jeep remains true to the core audience, even with all the other in-house alternatives.

  • avatar

    sykerocker –

    I agree with the point you’re making, but if you’re talking about competitors to the Jeep in the Sixties, there were a few more, including my favorite, the International Harvester Scout. Go HERE.

    Scouts were extremely rugged, simple, and durable. You couldn’t kill those things. The I-H full-size pickups in 4WD were also very capable, tough trucks.

    B Moore – Autosavant.net

  • avatar
    miked

    sykerocker – The Land Cruiser is only a soccer-mom-to-the-mall land yacht over here. In the rest of the world you can get it in full off road trim. In fact, they still make the SFA version as the UZJ-105, we just can’t get it here. The Land Cruiser is really a great off road machine. Once I can afford one, I’m going to be picking up a FZJ-80 to add to my collection that already includes a CJ that I do take off road. The CJ is nice and gets me everywhere, but the 600 mile drive to Moab is a killer. In the FZJ-80, I can hit the interstate in air conditioned comfort with a nice leather interior and then still go everywhere that the CJ will take me. (I’m not that hard core that I need the small size of the CJ to get to places that the Land Cruiser can’t go)

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    For the love of all that is holy, PLEASE make the Wrangler pickup!

    P.S. Not even a big jeep guy.

  • avatar
    68stang

    My friends are all Jeep guys and if I’m ever in need of an off road vehicle, there’s no doubt in my mind of what I’d be buying. Even stock, I’ve seen a YJ do some pretty amazing things. Some of my best memories are taking road trips and going camping in Cherokees and YJ/TJ’s.
    One of the best ones is my buddy blowing the rear diff in his Cherokee on the way to a remote lake for the Canada day weekend. We drove home in 4 Low with the front wheels pulling us through trails, and the other jeep towing us on long stretches of logging road. 45 minute drive that took 3 hours, great times.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    IIRC the reason Jeep killed the Commanche pickup back in the early 90’s was because (1) it was a lackluster seller compared to the Cherokee and (2) as the new owners of Jeep, Chrysler already sold a mid-sized pickup (the Dodge Dakota) and didn’t see the point in competing against themselves.

    However, as to point number (2), I’m baffled by the fact that all of the domestic manufacturers seem to make multiple products that compete with each other, sometimes even within the same brand (Durango/Nitro, Grand Cherokee/Commander, etc.) So it would seem that at least as far as SUVs go, the manufacturers don’t have a problem competing against themselves, so why not a pickup for Jeep? I like the Gladiator concept, and only hope it would be available with a removable top, similar to the CJ-8 Scrambler of the early 1980s.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    PS: I wonder how long it will be before Jeep comes to the realization that a large percentage of buyers of the 4-door wrangler don’t take their tops off. Between that realization and the fact that a lot of users have been reporting problems with the removable hardtops leaking, I figure that within a year or so, Jeep will be selling a version of the Wrangler unlimited with a permanent, fixed hard top. When I was in Korea from 91-92, a company called Ssangyong made a 4-door hardtop Jeep lookalike that was quite popular.

  • avatar
    AKM

    As to that comment about ‘proper ownership’ standards, I guess that means you can’t own a Harley if you don’t get into bar fights and spend serious time in jail – or – you can’t own a Ferrari if you don’t spend time racing. Get over it.

    Oh, one absolutely can. In that case, it simply shows the world what a poseur one is!

  • avatar

    I’ll argue you on that on the Harley example. I’ve spent 15 years with a patch on my back (three piece M/C), yet have never gotten into a fight, nor have I ever served jail time. Go ahead, walk up to me and call me a poseur to my face. I’ll probably break a long standing record. Or two.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    I agree with jurisb. Everything he said is right.

  • avatar
    d996

    Jeep and Harley are examples of brand identification that go far beyond any of their competitors. No amount of marketing could ever convince their hard core buyers/owners to ever switch allegiance, that is one of their strengths. New customers want to be just like their original customers, albeit for different reasons-that is why the 4-dr Wrangler is so popular. The emotions these brands evoke are so strong that if they didn’t exist another brand would have to be invented. Although Congress gave HD a break when the Japanese imports were dumped on the market in the 80’s and it imposed tariffs( and I am not calling skyerocker a poseur). Joke-Why was the roman soldier smiling? because he was Gladiator.

  • avatar

    No offense taken, and, by the way, Harley requested that the tariffs be dropped earlier than Congress had scheduled. They were. Said tariffs gave HD just the little bit of breathing room they needed to get the Evo engine out, and the rest is history.

    Not surprisingly, most of the four wheel drives I’ve ever owned have been Jeeps (2 Cherokees, 1 Grand Wagoneer, and 1 Dodge Dakota). No, I don’t off-road, nor do I have the slightest inclination of ever doing so. Just no interest.

    My wife spent ten years as a real estate agent, and I can’t think of a better sedan for taking clients into new construction areas than a Cherokee (and if the client was a bit too, er, ample for the rear seat, out came the Grand Wagoneer). A power washer was one of my primary car care tools at home.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Harley owners are poseurs. That is the kindest thought i can think when they roar past me ruining my nice summer day with needlessly loud mufflers. The worst I can say refers to their angst over small body parts, and would not be printed by TTAC, because it is in really poor taste.

    I like wranglers alot, better than the toyota product, i think they are cool lookin, especially with the top off. A few friends of mine own them, and we go off road occasionally in the pinelands of south jersey, its fun. They are true beleivers, i am an acolite.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    jurisb – do you have anything even remotely resembling proof that the Grand Cherokee, Commander, or Cherokee (by which I’m guessing you’re European, and refering to the Liberty – Real Cherokees have square headlights) are based on the platforms you claim they are? The Compass and Patriot are admittedly on the DaimlerChrysler/Mitsubishi GS platform, but they’re also Jeep’s unloved stepchildren.

  • avatar
    campo

    You have to have owned one to understand the love. #1 47 Willys for many years, #2 J20 pickup -10 years, # 3 CJ7 -9 years and looking to a 2008 Wrangler. I would like to see a pickup come back.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Comanche is built on the same platform as the grand Cherokee, meaning, it is built on mercedes m klass platform. within chrysler there are not many chrysler engineered platforms left( what does it tell you about chrysler`s engineering abilities?)Dodge viper, Durango, dakota and Minivans- the only chrysler`s floorpans left.
    The problem with jeep and Harley davidson is the same. their audience is the hardcore public that lives in memories of their youth. But the youth that remembers gurgling davidsons is shrinking, because todays kids will later remember hayabusas and cagivas 15K rpm not harley`s chrome pipes. ( what prohibits Buell to manufacture 15k high revving modern Aprillia killers?)so, i guess, while Nippon will constantly have increasing audience, Harleys` and Jeeps hardcore will shrink as their hardcore public slowly age or go pushing up daisies. Simplicity doesn`t always mean reliability. In american manufacturing most often it means stinginess, engineering illiteracy and inability to compete.

  • avatar
    EJ

    I recently pondered the question, to Jeep or not to Jeep? Or, more likely, in my case, to 4Runner or not to 4Runner? Alas, for the automobile industry, I’ve decided to upgrade my mountain bike, instead. Considering you only need that Jeep for a few miles of your trip (to, say, Moab), my minivan will continue to carry me to the rocks and the mountain bike over them.

  • avatar
    maxspivak

    Jeeps are cool. I love my Jeep.

    I have a ’96 Grand Cherokee (ZJ) that I bought new with 4 miles on the odo to go skiing at Tahoe. Just for fun, I took it off road and ended up with scratches on the clearcoat. It was 3 months old — I didn’t even have the license plates. And you know what? I didn’t care, ’cause it’s a Jeep. And scratches on a Jeep are normal.

    I still have it and it still soldiers on at > 130K miles. Take that for ‘unreliable engineering’! And to this day, it looks good and feels good. Sure, it’s not a late-model audi interior, nor BMW road performance, but point it downhill on a slippery slope, in low range and first gear, take your foot off both pedals, and just steer. It will crawl down with its solid, determined nature. Now turn around, and take it uphill — just trust it, you won’t be sorry.

    Yeah, it’s got a live axle. Yeah, it leans in turns, but I can still make it sing on twisties (and I track my BMW, so I know what I’m doing, a bit). I doesn’t like to run over 90mph, but can cruise comfortably at anything but. I feel nimble in it next to hulking Escalades and Suburbans. Sure, it’s not as fun on the road as a 3-series or a P-car (and I love those too) but I always know that it can side-step the asphalt and take the (side) road less traveled. And it will excel, because it’s a Jeep.

  • avatar
    ronin

    I had 2 new jeeps in the early 90s- Wrangler and Grand Wagoneer.

    Loved them both. After 18 months Jeep went back to the company via Lemon Law. The GW cruised on for a couple years, then weird reliability issues at 40k miles caused it to be sold.

    I still like Jeeps. Every once in a while I think about getting another one. Then my wife splashes cold water on the notion, and rightly so.

    At closing in on 30k for the Unlimited, no way I can risk rolling the reliability dice.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    a question… how would a wrangler – either a 4 door or a 2 door – be as a daily driver?

  • avatar
    BostonTeaParty

    jerseydevil, i’ve driven one for competitor comparisons and its fun to start with then the ride experience takes over and sore back, and sea sickness from the movement of the body take over. I know its supposed to be an off-roader but its on road characteristics would really annoy you after a while, especially if thats all you did with it which most would…..wouldnt they?!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Real quick: Today’s Wrangler Rubicon is several orders of magnitude more capable than CJs of yore.

    Other than that, right on, bro.

  • avatar
    philbailey

    Ah, a Jeep love in. How sadly retro.

  • avatar
    PanzerJaeger

    Jeep is ok, but I feel that Land Rover is a far better offroad company.

    In my opinion, the Defender beats a Wrangler by far and the LR2 and LR3 are superior to the Patriot, Grand Cherokee and the (now multiple) other daily driver oriented SUVs Jeep offers.

    Also, Jeep doesn’t even offer a luxo 4X4 at all – which both the Land Cruiser and Range Rover have proven a market exists for. I doubt anyone with $$ would go for a $70k Jeep anything, though.

  • avatar
    cshontz

    I would love to take the Pepsi Challenge with a 2007 Wrangler and a 2007 Defender. I’d wager the Wrangler, particularly the Rubicon, would have marginally better off-highway prowess. Although, I think Land Rover has done a much better job than Jeep at preserving their heritage as an overland platform. The Defender is timeless.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    jurisb, I asked for proof – and just saying the Grand Cherokee is Benz-based doesn’t count, and doesn’t even make sense. The first generation ML-class is older than the second generation Grand Cherokee, and the third generation Grand Cherokee (which we’re on now) came out before the current ML-class. Jeep’s not going to get stuck with a platform that’s even more obsolete than the one they were already using, but nothing from Chrysler ever got passed along to Benz. And, for the record, the LX platform is Chrysler-designed, it just used a few Mercedes suspension bits, and since when was the Ram created by anyone but Chrysler?

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Ryan–I don`t know of what 3 generations of grand Cherokee you are talking about. I could count 2. slight mascara job doesn`t count a new generation. as long as they don`t have a new a-pillar and front windshield, meaning new safety cage,( watch that gas cap!) etc. i don`t count them generations.If Brad Kozak can approve g- cherokee being non- merc based, so be it. (silence is accepted as agreeing.)the second gen appeared in 2005/6 and shares exactly the platform with merc in mm by mm of all bolting points of chassis . A coincidence? hahha!
    p.s. And i didn`t mention Ram ,because it is a version of Durango actually, not a seperate model. anyway, funny that new dakota is actually a version of previous generation Durango/Ram. miracles of new product diversification!

  • avatar
    Tommy Jefferson

    I’m totally bigoted against American car brands, but I would have sold my children to acquire a Jeep Gladiator.

    The Fools running Chrysler deserve their fate.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Fine, let’s hypothetically say that the Grand Cherokee and M-Class really are related (which you’ve still provided no founded proof for). The WK Grand Cherokee came out for 2005, while the W164 M-Class didn’t come out until 2006. It sounds more like the Jeep handed down its platform to Mercedes, unless you can somehow provide a reason that the Benz, despite getting the platform first, still took an extra year to develop.

  • avatar

    jerseydevil:

    I drive my 97 Wrangler, day-in/day-out as my commuter car, as well as my “fun” transportation. In the summer months I keep the top down and the doors off. (Let’s see you do that with a Toyota.) Since 1997, Wranglers have coil springs and a ride much like any other 4WD SUV…which is to say, they are fun to drive, but not nearly as comfortable as the ‘soft-roaders’ that would (in a logical world) be called what they are: station wagons with pretentions of off-roading.

    A couple of years ago, I drove from Amarillo to Lubbock (on the world’s most boring stretch of Interstate, I-27) with a videographer, to film some spots for an auto dealership. I had a blast. He complained up and down about the “rough ride.” (He drove a Pontiac Bonneville at the time. I figured he should be an expert on rough rides.) So, I guess the answer is, “it depends on what you like.” A Wrangler is no-frills just about any way you slice it. When your ride is designed to remove carpet and drain plugs so you divert a small river to clean the interior, you know you’re not looking at a luxobox. Any Wrangler built prior to 97 has leaf springs, and a ride that resembles a hayride more than a car.

    Now if Jeep could just build the 4-door Unlimiteds fast enough so I could get my hands on one…

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